We’ve just got back from Street Eats by Halal Gems at Old Spitalfields Market and I thought I’d put together a quick blog post to share our experience at the street food event featuring traders hand-picked by the Halal Gems team.
The event runs today (Friday, 28 July) and Saturday, 29 July from 11 am to 9.30 pm. I hopped on the tube with the kids and we got there at noon. The closest tube station is Liverpool Street. I did think Liverpool Street offered step-free access, but it only does for the rail portion of the station so there was a fair bit of up and down stairs with the buggy, but there were some lovely people that offered to help.
How to get there
Old Spitalfields Market is a short walk from the station (about 5-7 minutes). Use the Liverpool Street station exist for platforms 9 – 18 and exit the station using the escalators for Bishopsgate (West). Turn left, and the market is a short walk down the road.
When we got there, I tried to look for the Oli Baba’s stand first (fried halloumi!), couldn’t find it, panicked and ask a staff member who told me there was a whole other half to the event on the other side of a little cordoned off part where some construction was taking place.
All street food stalls were decorated in the same way with the Penny Appeal (the charity that the event is supporting) signage and that was useful because there wasn’t a designated entrance and exit or a specific cordoned off area for the event so it helps you differentiate the stalls that are usually at Spitalfields Market, from the ones that were specifically part of Street Eats.
Going with children
There is a section for children’s activities but I would say they are only suitable for children aged 5 and over. There was Jenga, tic tac toe, and a few other activities that none of my children could partake in but in all honesty, I wouldn’t have expected there to be any activities for children at a food festival anyway. The pathways were wide enough to accommodate our pushchair, but if you have a side by side double pushchair, you will struggle. It began to get really full around lunchtime and with the queues for the popular stalls, getting around was a bit of a squeeze.
The toilets are very close by – which was a bonus. They are just opposite Tiger to the left-hand side and there are baby changing facilities. You do need to call the concierge to unlock the door, but he comes up very quickly and locking it ensures it is kept relatively clean.
We tried Oli Baba’s fried halloumi, Chit Chaat Chai’s samosa chaat, and Curry Cook House’s malai chicken wrap. All of those were priced around the £5 – £6 point and apart from the drinks stalls and the bel at Chit Chaat Chai being £3, everything else was £5 and over. Chaatit was selling their samosa chat for £2 more than Chit Chaat Chai and as far as I can tell from the board, it’s made up of the same things – so I’d go to Chit Chaat Chai and save!
Carry cash with you as much as possible. There are traders with card payment facilities, but it’s a lot easier to pay with cash and I personally steer clear of ATMs close to major events like these – that’s just me being paranoid though. There are ATMs if you need to use them.
We loved everything we tried, but my favourite has got to be the halloumi fries. The combination of the salty cheese, with the molasses, chilli flakes, pomegranate seeds, yoghurt, mint – literally a party in your mouth! The portion is fairly large and they’re not going to be there tomorrow so get down there today if you really want to try some!
The samosa chaat was spicy and flavorful, just perfect – you could taste every ingredient individually and I loved that the spices were muted or changed to make it a little bland – it was authentic and I loved it.
TIP: Take ziplock bags and containers with you! You won’t be able to eat/taste everything whilst you’re there and you might want to carry some back to a family member/ friend who couldn’t make it. I packed some of my halloumi fries and a wrap for later!
Everything but the food
There were also stalls selling pre-packaged items. We bought some halal sweets from the Halal Sweets Company – they had bags of 3 for £5 or bottles selling at £10 for 3. Zaytoun were right next to them with dates, olive oil and other artisanal Palestinian products.
What traders are going to be there?
There’s an exhaustive list of all the traders on the Halal Gems website here, and interviews with each of them – so read up before you go! I’ve also put together a quick video of our time there – watch it here.
If you’re going, I hope you have a wonderful time – we certainly did! If you found this useful, please let me know in the comments below or share it with others!